Protein hydrolysate formula maintains homeostasis of plasma amino acids in preterm infants

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1999 Oct;29(4):406-10. doi: 10.1097/00005176-199910000-00007.


Background: Plasma amino acid concentrations were measured in preterm infants who were fed either a new hydrolyzed cow's milk protein formula or a standard preterm infant formula. It was hypothesized that feeding with the hydrolysate results in preprandial amino acid concentrations that are significantly different from the concentrations found when feeding with the standard formula.

Methods: Fifteen preterm infants, median gestational age, 29 weeks (range, 24-32 weeks); birth weight, 1241 g (range, 660-1900 g); and postnatal age, 18 days (range, 7-54 days) receiving full enteral feedings (>150 ml/kg x day), were enrolled. The intervention was randomized allocation to the formula with hydrolyzed or natural cow's milk protein (the whey/casein ratio was 60:40 in both formulas). In a crossover design, each formula was fed for 5 days, and plasma amino acids were analyzed on day 4 or 5 of each 5-day period.

Results: In spite of the 12% higher amino acid intake with hydrolysate formula, the median individual plasma amino acid concentrations were virtually identical with both formulas, and they were within the 10th and the 90th percentile of the reference of levels in the umbilical cord artery after elective cesarean delivery or of breast-fed newborn infants. The median concentrations of lysine and aspartic acid were higher with hydrolyzed formula feeding (p<0.05; two-tailed Mann-Whitney test). With both formulas, single amino acid concentrations were out of the reference values.

Conclusion: Virtually identical plasma amino acid concentration patterns were measured with the new hydrolyzed preterm infant formula and the standard preterm infant formula, but longitudinal studies are required before the studied protein hydrolysate can be recommended for preterm feeding in general.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / blood*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Infant Food*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Amino Acids
  • Proteins